By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
While the Department of Education (DepEd) still has to decide on the proposal to use “sablay” instead of toga during graduation rites, Pasig City went ahead and bared its plan to use “sablay” in this year’s commencement exercises of public schools in the city.
Instead of the traditional graduation robe or toga, Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said that “sablay” will be used in this year’s graduation rites of 44 public elementary and secondary schools in the city.
“Yes. For our 44 public elementary and high schools,” Sotto told the Manila Bulletin when asked if “sablay” will be used for the graduation rites of public schools in the city this year.
The mayor disclosed that they have already discussed the matter with public school officials in the city. He said that they have decided to use sablay instead of toga for their commencement exercises.
“Nagusap na kami ng mga pampublikong paaralan dito sa Pasig at mula sa ‘toga’, dun na rin kami sa ‘sablay,’” Sotto said in a Twitter post.
It was Education Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua who batted for the use of “sablay” instead of toga for the end-of-school-year rites of elementary and secondary schools.
In his aide memoire dated February 18, Pascua said the use of the woven sash during graduation rites will “instill patriotism and nationalism among young learners.”
He added that “sablay” will “revive and sustain local and traditional weaving enterprises” as well as “provide jobs and empower women and men weavers.”
Pascua said the use of toga has “deep Western roots” and “it does not inspire loyalty to the nation but serves as a reminder of a colonial past.”
The DepEd official noted that wearing a toga is also “impractical” and uncomfortable to use in a tropical country like the Philippines.”
The University of the Philippines uses “sablay” for its commencement exercises.
Parents of graduating public school students in Pasig will not shell out any amount for the “sablay” as the city government will provide it for the graduates.
“Pasig City will shoulder the cost. Instead of toga rentals, we will purchase the ‘sablay’,” Sotto told the Manila Bulletin in a text message.
The graduates, he said, can also take their “sablay” home “as a remembrance.”
He noted that the procurement of the “sablay” will undergo public bidding.
According to the DepEd School Calendar for School Year 2019-2020, the end of school year rites is scheduled on March 30 until April 3, 2020.